Karnataka HC issues notice to Centre on prohibition of Electro Convulsive Therapy

Karnataka High Court Law Insider
Karnataka High Court Law Insider

Greeva Garg – 

Published on: September 3, 2021, at 12:00 IST

The Karnataka High Court has issued notice to the Union Government and the State Government in a petition seeking to quash Section 94(3) of the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017.

The plea was filed by Vinod G. Kulkarni, neuropsychiatrist and social activist from Hubballi, who sought to restrict the use of ElectroConvulsive Therapy (ECT).

The plea sought for treating patients with physical illness, harbouring suicidal ideas or who attempt suicide or are a danger to themselves.

“This is tantamount to being massively contrary to one another. The contradictory statements suffer from the vice of the doctrine of colourable legislation. The prevention of the use of the ECT as a form of treatment violates the rights guaranteed under Articles 14 and 21 for the patients,” the plea stated.

The plea demanded the constitution of a Joint Expert Committee headed by retired Supreme/ High Court judges and comprising heads of the Department of Psychiatry of Central Institutes like NIMHANS, PGI Chandigarh.

The Division Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum issued notice to the respondents directing them to file a statement of objections within four weeks.

The Court said, “The ECT can be given or not has to be answered by some expert body. Therefore, we permit the petitioner to implement NIMHANS, through its Director, for obtaining expert opinion.”

The Court posted the matter for further hearing on October 27.

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